“Saturday Night Live” season 46 premiere was almost a hit

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Photo by NBC

Saturday Night Live has been airing on NBC since 1975 with new episodes still being produced today. Oct. 3 was the premiere of Saturday Night Live season 46. This new season brought the same format of the show that we know and love, with SNL alum Chris Rock as the host and musical guest Megan Thee Stallion. Despite finishing season 45 from cast member’s homes, the premiere was aired from Thirty Rockefeller Plaza with cast and crew members present. The immediate floor audience was reserved for first responders, with masks and social distancing enforced. 

The night opened with a sketch of the presidential debate with Donald Trump (Alec Baldwin) and Joe Biden (Jim Carrey). Following this, they performed a reoccurring skit involving the name change center, a music video for an original song “Bottom of Your Face,” and more. Stallion performed her hit song “Savage” along with “Don’t Stop” featuring Young Thug. Along with new sketches, recurring skits, such as “Weekend Update,” occurred with hosts Colin Jost and Michael Che. Cast member Kate McKinnon, who played Supreme Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in sketches, paid tribute to Ginsburg by dressing up as her for a final time followed with the message “Rest in Power.”  

While it was refreshing to see the SNL cast operating and back in action, the content itself missed the mark. I liked the opening sketch, but a sense of political correctness prevented me from fully enjoying it. While SNL is no stranger to joking about political events, the extremity of our country’s polarization stopped me from appreciating the jokes and mockery. Our nation is seemingly on the brink of collapsing and the biases of a widely popular show didn’t help with any of that– regardless of how much I agreed with their views. 

Aside from the political sketch, I was underwhelmed with the comedic impact of the other sketches. The name change center skit was funny, but is a reoccurring one that I’ve seen multiple times prior to the premiere. While there was slight variation, the content itself felt unoriginal. Especially with this being their first sketch of a new season, I was slightly disappointed with the fact that it wasn’t something new. 

In general, the episode felt rushed and shorter than usual. Specifically during the NBA Bubble skit, everything was moving so fast and it took me longer to process. While this may have been intentional, it just lost me. Even beyond this individual skit, the episode felt very ‘run and go’ opposed to ‘sit back and relax.’ 

Although I wasn’t the most impressed from a comedy standpoint, I appreciated the fact that the writers used the show as a platform to address political unrest and recent events. Despite the current social climate, they stood strong on their beliefs. Chris Rock’s opening monologue hit heavily on the functionality of our government and the urgency of change needed in our system; Rock also continuously encouraged viewers to vote to help create a difference in our nation. During Stallion’s performance of “Savage,” she gave an important message about the value of Black lives in America along with our duty to protect them. These important messages woven throughout the show helps viewers recognize that while they are poking fun and people and issues, we can’t forget how chaotic our world is and that we have the power to create a positive change – for not only our nation, but for the world as a whole. 

All in all, the season 46 premiere was good but fell short of great. While the sketches themselves were slightly lackluster, important messages were shared with the audience. It managed a few laughs here and there, but wasn’t quite a typical Saturday Night Live episode, let alone season premiere. Regardless of the bumpy start, I still have high hopes for the rest of the season in spite of current limitations and restrictions. The next episode is set to air on Oct. 10 with host Bill Burr.